Liverpool (Torres 16′, Gerrard pen. 28′, 47′, Dossena 88′) 4-0 Real Madrid (Liverpool wins 5-0 on aggregate)
Stadium: Anfield Stadium, England
Competition: UEFA Champions League
Date: 10 March 2009
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT, 15:45 ET
Liverpool thrashed Real Madrid by a score of 4-0 to advance to the Quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments below!
Liverpool’s domestic chances may have taken a nosedive as of late, but their European form remains strong. Yossi Benayoun’s late winner at the Bernabeu two weeks ago ensured that Liverpool will have a considerable advantage as Real Madrid pays a visit to Anfield. The two teams were on the verge of a dour, listless scoreless draw before the Israeli international connected on a header for the only goal of the match. Benayoun, who has been in scintillating form as of late, may have ensured a much livelier match the second time around by scoring that vital away goal. Real Madrid should have a more attack-oriented plan in place, and if some of Arjen Robben’s teammates show up this time, then Los Merengues could make things very interesting.
Liverpool will hope to have Alvaro Arbeloa back in time to face his former club, while the health status of star striker Fernando Torres remains up in the air. Additionally, the sideshow surrounding Rafa Benitez continues to roar, unabated, as the Liverpool manager has not signed a new contract despite securing Rick Parry’s resignation. Benitez’s contract situation has been a terrible distraction for the club, and could help explain their recent dip in form in the Premiership. After winning at Madrid, Liverpool lost to lowly Middlesbrough to fall seven points behind Manchester United and then struggled to beat almost-as-lowly Sunderland. Benitez’s crew better get their heads on straight, otherwise they could miss out on their last chance to win silverware this year.
As for Real Madrid, they have closed to within six points of stuttering Barcelona in La Liga, and their recent form suggests that this could be a good match. Before being held to a draw against Atletico Madrid over the weekend, Real had been in fantastic form, winning ten Liga matches in a row and getting goals from many different contributors. They’ll need some more of that magic, especially if Liverpool play the kind of defensive “park the bus in front of goal” strategy that they employed in the first leg. Otherwise they could be looking at a long offseason with no new silverware to polish and plenty of daily Ronaldo and Benitez rumors.
Who will advance to the next phase of the Knockout Round? Will Liverpool’s advantage hold up? Or will Real Madrid finally play the way that they’re capable of playing in Europe? Tune in and find out!
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard (c), Babel, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Lucas, Ngog, Spearing, Kelly.
Torres will start for Liverpool, which makes sense since it’s do-or-die for them in this competition now that the Premiership is seemingly out of reach. Riera is suspended after picking up a yellow card in Madrid, so Babel will start on the right wing. Arbeloa has been cleared to play, and will start at right-back. Mascherano, who filled in at right-back during Liverpool’s most recent match against Sunderland, will move back to his familiar role in the center of midfield alongside Alonso. And, of course, Gerrard will start after coming on as a late-sub two weeks ago in Madrid.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Cannavaro, Pepe, Heinze, Robben, Diarra, Gago, Sneijder, Raul (c), Higuain.
Subs: Dudek, Saviola, Marcelo, Guti, Metzelder, Miguel Torres, Van der Vaart.
Real Madrid will only make one change from the side that lost to Liverpool two weeks ago, but it’s a big one. Marcelo will sit out and will be replaced by Wesley Sneijder, the highly regarded Dutch international who hasn’t played since February 28. We’ll see what Sneijder can do on the flanks, especially since Robben played so well in the first leg attacking from the wings.
Minute by Minute:
90′ + 3 Aurelio goes to ground on the tackle from Sneijder. Liverpool knock it around and there’s the whistle! Congrats to Liverpool on their surprisingly easy advancement to the Quarterfinals! Join me tomorrow as Manchester United will host the Special One and Inter Milan! See you then!
90′ + 2 Lucas gets a shot that is deflected out for a corner. If Lucas is scoring on you, then you might as well quit.
90′ + 1 Three minutes will be added on. Rafa Benitez looks quite pleased with himself on the bench, and you have to wonder what he’s thinking. Is he happy because of this result? Or is he happy because he just made one hell of an impression Real Madrid’s Board of Directors?
89′ I bet Rafa is hoping that Liverpool haven’t used up their supply of goals for the week. They’ll need all of this and more if they want to win at Old Trafford.
88′ GOAL! Babel gets a long pass and he lays it off to Mascherano, who makes the run down the right. He sends a low cross across the center of the box to the far post where Dossena is completely unmarked. He easily puts it past Casillas, and it’s all academic at this point.
87′ Villarreal are leading 2-1 in their match, so they should go through as long as they don’t give up a late goal.
86′ Dossena charges down the left and he sends a cross towards the center of goal that Heinze nearly puts in the back of his own net. It will be a corner instead, and Real deal with it ably.
85′ Dossena gets a quick booking. I wasn’t paying attention, though, since I was looking at the score of the Chelsea/Juventus match. Sorry, but does this match really matter at this point?
84′ Torres comes off to a rapturous ovation and he’ll be replaced by Dossena.
83′ Real win a corner, and Higuain finally puts it into the net, but it won’t count since he was offside.
82′ Real’s defenders look confused on the ensuing corner, but they avoid danger. Meanwhile, Drogba has scored and that should put them in the Quarterfinals.
81′ Torres shoots from the left edge of the box, and he forces yet another great save for Real Madrid. It’s out for a corner.
80′ Great chance for Raul, as he gets a cross from Heinze. Raul can’t score, though, and are we really surprised?
77′ Marcelo with a great cross from the left flank and it falls to Gago, however his shot is wide of the target. Meanwhile, that’s Gago’s last touch as Guti will come in for him.
74′ Juve have scored to take a 2-1 lead. They’ll need one more without conceding any more.
73′ Gerrard will come off and he’ll be replaced by Spearing
72′ Lucas fouls Marcelo from about 35 yards out or so. Sneijder tries to shoot, but it’s well off target.
71′ Nothing doing on the corner, though, as Kuyt gets it and breaks towards the Real Madrid side of the field. He loses it, though, and Sneijder takes a shot from long range that is well off the mark.
70′ Marcelo gets a deep pass down the left flank and wins a corner.
69′ Diarra and Babel collide, and Diarra is limping a little.
68′ Higuain wins it on the left flank from Arbeloa, and he sends a nice cross into the box for Raul. He tries to split the defense, but Skrtel and Carragher stand tall. Raul goes down and wants a penalty, but no dice.
67′ Skrtel is called for a foul on the edge of the box on Van der Vaart. Sneijder will take it and his kick is a terrible one that doesn’t come close. That about sums up Real’s night so far.
66′ Van der Vaart creates a chance as he gets into the box and nearly sends it through to Raul. Liverpool are able to knock it away, but it looks like Van der Vaart has really made an impact so far.
65′ Van der Vaart sends in a good cross from the left flank towards Higuain, but Carragher knocks it out for a corner. Terrible corner by Sneijder, and you can hear the groans from the Real fans in attendance. The ones who haven’t already left.
64′ Rafael Van der Vaart looks like he’s coming on for Real. Diarra does some good work to win the ball, however Real with some sloppy passing and the ball goes back to Liverpool. Meanwhile, Van der Vaart comes in for Cannavaro.
63′ Marcelo lunges in on Mascherano, and he gets booked for the foul. On the replay, it looked a little soft and Mascherano definitely went down a little theatrically.
62′ Not sure why Gerrard and Torres are still in there. Rafa should save them for the Man Utd. match on Saturday.
60′ Aurelio wins a corner as Sergio Ramos knocks it away. Alonso will come off and everyone’s favorite Brazilian, Lucas, will come on. Alonso is grimacing slightly, so we’ll have to wait and see if he’s hurt. On the corner, Liverpool play it short and knock it around. Torres is called offside, though, and Real will kick it away. Meanwhile, Panathinaikos have scored to level it up against Villarreal.
58′ Sneijder takes a shot from the edge of the box, but it’s wide of the far post.
57′ Mascherano gives away a free kick to Marcelo on the right edge of the box. He’s shaking his head in disbelief, but he wisely keeps his mouth shut. Meanwhile, Real come back and Sergio Ramos sends in a cross from the right wing that takes a deflection but doesn’t trouble Reina at all. Liverpool then attack as Babel makes a run down the left flank. His cross is kicked away by a diving Casillas, and luckily for him, no red shirts are around to pounce on the loose ball.
56′ Diarra sends in a low cross into the box from the left flank and Raul sends a diving header on target that forces a good save from Reina.
55′ Gago with a curling shot from long range that nearly tucks itself into the top corner away from a flying Reina. That was a lot closer than it initially seemed.
54′ Giveaway from Real gives Liverpool another chance. Torres sends it to Babel, who lays it off to Kuyt. He flicks it to Gerrard, who makes the run behind him, and his shot forces another great save from Casillas.
53′ Alonso sends in a free kick from near the center-line into the box towards Babel. It’s knocked away by the Real defense.
52′ Villarreal have scored in Athens, which means that they’re in the driver’s seat for advancement.
51′ Marcelo with a great run to elude a few defenders and he finds Sergio Ramos making the run down the right. He sends a dangerous cross towards goal and Raul looks like he’s through to score, however, he ends up booting it over the crossbar. He probably should have used his head.
49′ I wonder what Liverpool fans are thinking right now. Sure, it’s a great result, but you have to wonder why they can do this against a squad like Real Madrid, but lose to a team like Middlesbrough.
47′ GOAL! Babel with a great run down the left as both Sergio Ramos and Cannavaro do their best impersonation of a turnstile. Babel sends a cross into the center of the box to Gerrard, who easily sheds Heinze and lashes it past Casillas. Turn out the lights and drive home safely folks.
46′ Real will make a change and it’s Robben that will be replaced by Marcelo. Robben must be hurt, otherwise there’s no reason to take him off. Liverpool kick off and we’re underway!
46′ Chelsea have pulled one back to really put the pressure on Juve. They’ll need two goals to advance now. Villarreal and Panathinaikos are scoreless, while Bayern are up 4-1 on Sporting.
Liverpool attacked and played positive football, and they were rewarded with a deserved 2-0 lead. It could have been a lot more, if not for the brilliance of Iker Casillas. Real will have to score three unanswered goals in the second half, and it seems like a tall task. They haven’t been close to scoring even one goal, so it’s probably safe to assume that they aren’t going to go out and poach three in quick succession. They’ve been out-muscled, out-hustled, and completely outplayed so far. They have 45 minutes to figure out how to pull this one out, otherwise they’ll be watching the rest of the Champions League at home.
45’+ 2 Sneijder sends it to Higuain, who takes on Skrtel and Carragher. He loses possession, but it trickles right into Raul’s path. He sends in a shot, but it’s out for a goal-kick. There’s the whistle, and we’re at halftime! See you in the second half!
45′ + 1 Two minutes will be added on. Meanwhile, Mascherano will miss the next match as a result of his booking (and it could be a lot more if he keeps yapping away).
44′ Liverpool win a corner, but Casillas punches Gerrard’s in-swinger away from danger.
43′ Pepe gets fouled by Alonso and Mascherano boots the ball away in anger. Mascherano is booked and he’s really giving the ref an earful. He better be careful because we’ve seen what happens when he gets wound up.
42′ Liverpool are just pushing Real around. Robben gets it on the left edge of the box. He lays it off to Heinze, who makes the run down the left. He sends it into the box for Sneijder who gets a hard shot on target, but it’s right at Reina.
41′ Make it 3-0 Bayern. Is there a mercy rule for Champions League ties?
40′ Kuyt gets it on the right edge of the box, and he has plenty of space to take the shot. It’s a terrible effort from him, though, and it’s not even close to the mark.
39′ Pepe with a hard tackle on Babel that looks like it could have merited a booking. No card, though, and Pepe, who’s already on a yellow, escapes.
38′ Sergio Ramos with a long cross from deep down the right flank and Raul gets his header on target. It lacks power, though, and Reina easily saves it.
37′ Raul makes a strong move into the box as he gets through Skrtel but Carragher is there to take it away.
35′ Juventus have scored against Chelsea. Interesting… Meanwhile, Sporting are down 2 to Bayern and will have to score eight if they want to advance. It could happen, right?
34′ More sloppy play from Real as Sneijder and Heinze have some miscommunication. Torres nearly threads it through to Gerrard on the counter-attack, but Real are able to clear it from danger.
32′ Babel with a hard, low pass from the left wing into the box towards Torres, but Cannavaro just gets a boot on it to knock it away.
31′ More Real offense as Higuain gets a pass from Gago and his shot is just wide of the post. Is it too little too late?
30′ Then again, maybe it is, as Real’s corner amounts to nothing.
29′ Real win a free kick and Sneijder goes for goal from about 30 yards out. He sends a hard shot on target that forces a great save from Reina. Looks like it ain’t over yet.
28′ GOAL Gerrard steps up to take it. He gets Casillas leaning to his left and puts it in the opposite corner. Turns out, some Englishmen can take penalties after all.
27′ And just when I say that, Heinze is booked for a handball in the box. Looked wrong since the ball bounced off his shoulder, but it’s going to be a penalty shot and this one could be over in a hurry.
26′ Gerrard goes into the book for a lunging tackle on Sergio Ramos.
25′ So far, the only Real Madrid defender that hasn’t been exposed has been Heinze, and that’s only because Liverpool haven’t really attacked down the right.
24′ Torres with a brilliant move to get around Sergio Ramos and lifts a dangerous cross across goal to an unmarked Gerrard, who volleys it on target. Casillas makes yet another great save, and this is getting ridiculous.
22′ Gerrard wins a foul from Cannavaro, and Liverpool will have a chance from about 35 yards out or so. Skrtel flicks the header off the long pass into the box from Gerrard, and Casillas makes another great save to deny Liverpool. Real should thank their lucky stars that they have him back there.
20′ Well, Real need two goals now. And with what we’ve seen out of them so far, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen. Meanwhile, Alonso tackles Sneijder, but the ball trickles to Sergio Ramos. He streaks down the right wing, but Aurelio does a great job closing him off and winning a goal kick for Reina.
19′ Pepe goes into the book for dissent. Curiously, it wasn’t for the non-call on the foul that led to the goal, but for something else. Or maybe Pepe’s still angry about that non-call and that’s what caused him to go off on the ref. Who knows?
16′ GOAL! Can’t say it wasn’t coming. Long pass to Torres, who chests it down in front of Pepe. The Real defender makes a mess of it deep in his own box, and Kuyt gets it and crosses it to Torres, who then easily pokes it past a helpless Casillas. On the replay, it looks like Torres threw Pepe down, but no foul call from the ref.
15′ Raul sends it to Diarra on the edge of the box, and he tries to send it back through to the Real skipper. It’s well read by the Liverpool defense, though.
14′ Real break on the counterattack, but sloppy passing from Pepe nearly causes them to turn it over. Meanwhile, Pepe is limping slightly, and he could be injured.
13′ Pepe fouls Torres, and let’s just say that he’s talking up Torres to be nominated for an Oscar.
11′ Liverpool have been completely dominant so far. Most importantly, they’ve been attacking in waves, really keeping the pressure on Real’s back four. I guess we know which Liverpool side showed up tonight.
9′ Real wins a free kick. Don’t know how since they were showing the replay of Gerrard’s free kick. Ramos gets on the end of the free kick, but his header is well over the bar and doesn’t bother Reina too much.
8′ Alonso rolls the ball slightly to Gerrard, whose kick forces another save from Casillas.
7′ Gerrard and Torres do another one-two on the edge of the box and Torres nearly gets free of Pepe with another great pirouette. However, Gerrard was fouled on the edge of the box by Cannavaro, and Liverpool will have a great chance from about 25 yards out.
5′ Corner goes out to Mascherano, whose long-range shot forces a brilliant finger-tip save from Casillas. Wow! On the ensuing corner, Mascherano comes back with another shot that is deflected out for a corner. On that corner, Real Madrid’s defense looks completely lost, but Babel is called for a foul. Whew!
4′ Gerrard makes a great pass to Torres in the box, and he makes a brilliant turn that leaves Cannavaro flat-footed. He is through and alone on goal, but he somehow misses the target. Looks like Casillas just got a piece of it with his boot and it’s out for a corner.
2′ Gerrard swings it from the left and it’s close to Kuyt in the box, but he can’t handle it. Real are able to clear it away from danger. Babel comes back with a strong run into the box and he fires a shot from the edge of the box. It takes a slight deflection and pops up in the air, but Casillas easily handles it.
1′ Real kick off and we’re underway! Frank De Bleeckere is our ref. Torres makes a strong run into the box and he wins a corner for his troubles.
0′ Interesting note: Liverpool have more Spaniards in their starting lineup than Real Madrid. Somewhere, Michel Platini is screaming and shouting.
0′ This message is brought to you by Heineken. Don’t worry, I’m not drinking during this match. Although that would have made the first match between these two a lot more interesting… The Chammmmmpions!
0′ I’m watching the match on ESPN. It’s also available on ESPN 360. For more info on how to access this fine service, learn how to watch live football online. I believe the match is also available on ITV.com.
0′ Bayern is so confident that they’re sending out their reserves. Not quite, but Podolski will finally get a start.
0′ Essien is back for Chelsea, and he’ll start in midfield, partnering Mikel. That should give you some insight into Guus Hiddink’s strategy. Meanwhile, Juventus will start Del Piero and Trezeguet up front as they desperately need to overturn that 1-0 deficit.
0′ As for Real Madrid, I’m sorry but you guys aren’t beating anyone if you play the way you did two weeks ago. An absolutely terrible performance on a number of levels. They were lucky Liverpool weren’t attacking in waves, otherwise they would have lost by three or four.
0′ As for Liverpool, this is probably their best chance at a trophy, so it’ll be interesting to see how they come out. Will they sit back and try and defend or will they go for the jugular at home and try to add to their advantage? I’m guessing they’ll go with the latter, but I’ve given up trying to figure out this team.
0′ Should be a really interesting afternoon as Liverpool and Chelsea both look like strong favorites to proceed to the next round, Villarreal are in a hole after giving up an away goal to Panathinaikos, and Sporting are done unless Bayern Munich pull off a bigger choke job than anything Greg Norman has ever done.
0′ Hello everyone and welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the UEFA Champions League! Today, we’ll see if Liverpool or Real Madrid can book their place in their Quarterfinals! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger.
This matchup was hyped as clash between two of the greatest European franchises of all time. In the end, only one of them played like it as Liverpool battered Real Madrid to win, 5-0, on aggregate. Liverpool were clearly the hungrier team, as they won almost every loose ball, generated almost every single meaningful scoring chance, and dominated a talented, but soft Real Madrid side. Liverpool’s Jekyll and Hyde routine may be frustrating to their fans as far as their elusive dream of winning a Premiership title goes, but they’re one of the best in Europe. Tonight, they may have established themselves as the team to beat in the Champions League.
As for Real Madrid, it will probably be a trophyless season for them, and deservedly so. They played terribly during both legs of this tie, and were fortunate not to lose by 6 or 7. They’re defense was virtually nonexistent, their midfielders were played off the pitch, and the player that’s been their best striker, Huntelaar, was ineligible. Now you can see why they’re willing to throw millions at Ronaldo, because they were in desperate need of inspiration and creativity. They’ll have a long offseason to think about what went wrong for them this year, and I’m sure they’ll throw around some more money to try and fix it.
Man of the Match:
There were no shortage of candidates, all of whom wore red. Gerrard was his usual inspiration self, while Mascherano and Alonso did a great job neutralizing their counterparts in midfield. Skrtel and Carragher, when needed, did a great job to shut down Raul and Higuain, and Reina made a few good saves to keep the clean sheet. Torres was the consistent terror, though, and he nearly had a brace in the first half. He got behind his defenders time and time again, and his opening goal set the tone for the demolition that followed. As for Real, Casillas tried his best to keep it close, but unfortunately for him, his teammates failed to show up once again. Especially Cannavaro, who was exposed several times and showed that his best days are truly behind him.